In September, summer in the Midwest is still hanging on, but we all know fall is right around the corner. While it isn’t winter yet, it won’t be long until the nights shorten, the temperature drops, and we begin to experience more harsh and severe weather conditions. Therefore, now is the perfect time to start prepping your home for winter. There are countless areas to focus on and the areas that will require your attention will depend entirely on you and your individual circumstances. But all in all, there are a few things that everyone should check during this process. Here are some of the most important to consider.
When prepping your home for winter, it’s best to complete any and all home repairs that are ongoing or will be beneficial for winter. While most of us tend to push home repair work aside until the issue becomes significant, it’s better to tackle them head on before they become an even bigger issue, requiring more time, more repairs, and more money to fix.
Whether it’s a crack in a window, air conditioning repair, or a missing tile on the roof, confront it sooner rather than later. Focus on the more significant repairs that will affect you during the winter, not so much the indoor, cosmetic repairs. Call in the professionals or roll your own sleeves up to tackle the repairs. This will not only ease your mind but it will also prevent problems from cropping up during harder times of the year.
One of the worst outcomes in not winterizing your home is having a frozen pipe explode. In cold weather climates, pipes that travel through attics, crawlspaces, basements, or other non-heated areas are susceptible to freezing. When water freezes, it expands. Imagine this happening inside a closed pipe. This expansion and buildup of ice displaces the water in the pipe, creates blockage, and in doing so, increases the overall pressure inside the pipe. Left untreated, the pipe can burst.
In prepping your home for winter, locate any water pipes in these cold locations and insulate them with a pipe sleeve. On super cold nights, leave a trickle of water running out of the faucet just to keep the water moving, making it harder for the water to freeze. You can also add insulation to these unheated attics, basements, crawl spaces, or garages and keep your heat at a consistent temperature to prevent temperature swings at night. Just following these few simple steps can keep you from having a potential $5,000 repair on your hands.
Today, as more of us are investing in new and larger windows for our properties, it’s important to know the differences between the various types of windows and their insulating abilities. Unfortunately, glass isn’t a naturally good insulator. In fact, you’ll find that the majority of your home’s energy is lost through the windows. Make sure to tackle this problem by repairing or replacing any damaged windows before winter settles in.
When replacing windows, do your homework and learn about window energy efficiency, U-values, Low-E coatings, glass options, and the materials within the window. Double glazed glass is a much better insulator than single pane glass and will help to retain heat in your property. Select the best replacement for your budget with the maximum energy efficiency. Allowing more natural light in the home can make your property look a lot more aesthetically pleasing, but installing good quality windows can also improve your home’s energy efficiency while decreasing heating and cooling bills.
If you’re simply winterizing your windows, check them for leaks, add weather-stripping for draft protection, check the caulk seal around the window, put up a plastic seal from a window insulation kit, and cover the window with thermal curtains.
When prepping your home for winter, don’t forget about your lawn and garden. Before winter settles in, mow, aerate, and fertilize your lawn. Reseed any bare spots and continue to pull weeds. Take care to cover and protect any plants that don’t like the cold snap of winter. Empty your garden hoses and put them away. Also, be sure to rake away leaves, clean gutters, and discard any old potted or planted annuals.
Now is a good time to clean garden tools, put away or cover garden furniture, and prepare for next spring. When packing away the gardening items, pull out the winter snow tools and get them ready. Uncover the shovels, stock up on salt/ice melt, and ready the snowblower. Winter is coming whether you want it to or not!
There are exhaustive lists out there on prepping your home for winter, but not everything has to be done. Focus on these top priority areas to ensure a problem-free winter in a cozy, warm home.